Visual processing disorder

A visual processing disorder is a difficulty with the way in which the brain interprets the visual information that it receives from the eye. It differs from a visual impairment because there is not necessarily anything physically wrong with the eye or the nerves connecting the eye to the brain, but the brain struggles to interpret the signals.

Visual processing disorder becomes most obvious when a child moves into school. Before then it can appear that the child is simply distractible and clumsy, which can be common in young children.

Children with visual processing disorder tend to struggle to differentiate shapes, letters and numbers. The difficulties that any particular child has depend on the extent of the processing disorder. These difficulties often result in special educational needs (SEN).

In some cases, SEN additional support may be adequate, whereas in others an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be necessary. Careful assessment of the impact of the child’s needs is required to establish the necessary level of support and special educational needs advice should be sought.


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